Halloween, work edition

If I told you my Halloween fun (and stress?) stopped when I put my sparkly green Tinkerbell shoes away in the closet (to be worn again…when? No clue), I would be lying. When I realized I had very limited time left to snatch the opportunity to decorate the window at the store, I spent all day on Tuesday getting supplies, and all night after the track workout putting my plan into action. Each year I make a store pumpkin, and there was no way I was skipping it this year. Here’s an evolution of the pumpkins…I’m on year three:

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And a drumroll please for this year…

I should tell you that I added some glow-in-the-dark paint, and glitter, to this year’s pumpkin! So, what it lacks in creative paint design, it makes up for in luminescence. Clearly, I didn’t stop at the pumpkin this year. I got totally tangled up in fake spiderwebs each time I turned on the pumpkin lights (i.e., twice a day), and when I realized I hadn’t changed the mannequin’s top yet, but this window display was worth it. The result:

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Note: I wanted to put a black sheet on the ground, but to be honest, it would have put me over my budget.

The loose straw will inevitably cause my coworkers to give me some grief, but I assured them I would clean it up thoroughly. They responded with comments that reassured me the Styrofoam snow (from the Valentine’s Day window) was still on the top of the Meghan’s Messiest Projects list. In the clear. I think the green glitter (St. Patrick’s Day window 2012) is second, because there was some deja-vu-inspired outcries when my Tinkerbell shoes and sparkly shirt made their way into the store last week….

I contemplated dressing as some sort of inanimate object we sell for Halloween at work Thursday, but the thought of constructing something out of cardboard that would resemble the Stick or a foam roller made my head hurt after all the other efforts I had already put into this holiday. So, I decided that an inspiring female runner would be my costume. I actually started off in normal clothes, and had just thrown some things into my bag; not feeling like doing it after all after putting final touches on another costume and packing for New York the night before. Then I got excited about it, and a Grete Waitz costume was fabricated (appropriate for pre-New York City Marathon weekend):

Gosh, I love dressing up. So does the local high school cross country team, who ended up running past the store during their practice! One of the mothers gave us a heads up, so we had plenty of warning time to go outside and take a lot of pictures. I sent them in to a local newspaper the next morning on the train to NYC, but I’m not sure anything ever became of that…perhaps Halloween was already old news (never!). Anyway, they were pretty sweet.

phsxcWe had some trick-or-treaters stop by later in the evening, which was fun also. THge clock struck closing time and after taking out the trash still dressed as Grete (I’m glad it was 65 degrees and humid that day!), I transformed into a flapper/Great Gatsby-themed character via costume number three! I am a big fan of the book and movie…and the movie’s soundtrack! I went to see it before the official opening day this May, and my friend and I dressed as flappers. That was a subpar effort, however. Halloween night I tried to do a better job, but didn’t go all-out and make a dress with beads and such, as I thought I should do back in the spring (enough stress is enough…I’ve never had three costumes before!). Here was the movie outfit (May 9th):

I learned that day that my hair is not compatible with the traditional flapper-inspired headband across the forehead. It just doesn’t stay put. So, I bypassed that entire idea and embellished a traditional headband of my own with gems, feathers, and pearls. I wore heels, tights, a dress I already had, and a couple different necklaces attached together.

Getting ready at work as usual....

Getting ready at work as usual….

…and part of a mandatory photoshoot before these candle pumpkin bags are thrown out:

With “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” stuck in my head, I attended a party at a local bar, at which my friend won a $100 cash prize for best costume! Afterward, I watched Scream for the first time (CHECK, for all those who have as list going of the movies they cannot believe I haven’t seen), which was superb. Not even kidding. Just when I thought Halloween was over, it got better. Cheers to that!

A lot of people ran in Halloween-themed races…I have yet to run in a costume (the sparkle skirt doesn’t count); if you have, tell me what it was like! I hope you had a great Halloween!

Next up: My NYC Marathon expo experience, the basics from a work perspective…and probably all the in between the lines, cold hard truth stuff surrounding it which is bound to come out sometime.

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costumes, headlamps, and a little more on writing…

My first order of business going into the weekend was Halloween, as I mentioned previously. It did not disappoint. In fact, now that the real Halloween is still to come, I’m quite concerned about how fun it will actually be. Probably not nearly as much as round one. Anyway, I’ll post a costume picture so you know what the final result was.

The rest of the weekend was pretty great, and it included a 14-mile run on Sunday before work. A few things about the run….It was hilly. I don’t know why I mapped a route with steep climbs at mile 2 and mile 11, but that happened. The reward for the first was the scenic Mountain View Rd., which Kate showed me back in February. It did not disappoint. I was only planning on running 13 miles, but it turned into 14 due to a bathroom excursion (it was locked! What a tease!). It was so nice to enjoy a long run without having to worry about a race; the Perfect 10 was two weekends prior, and the Runner’s World 10k was last weekend. It’s like too many parties: there is definitely a limit; sometimes I just need a solid, steady long run on which I don’t care about pace at all. I wore my Garmin but turned off the tones. The result was an average pace of 7:51. Looking back later, my splits vary quite ridiculously, but that was due to the sudden elevation changes, I think (I went from a 8:16 twelfth mile to a 7:16 thirteenth mile!). It was finally cold enough to warrant gloves (46 degrees)…but not cold enough for me not to sweat profusely through a short sleeve shirt and shorts of course.

Headlamps on the track

I used this for my warmup and cooldown for the first time….clipped it to my tank top/bra in the back. I didn’t feel it at all and I felt safer!

I know it sounds like it sometimes, but I don’t always have an incredible run. My interval workouts aren’t always perfect, and I don’t always have the mental stamina when I set off to the track or all throughout the workout. On Tuesday, I had off from work. I could have done a workout in the daylight at any time. I could have done an easy run, because I had slight ITB paranoia after Sunday’s run (spoiler: I’m fine now). But I went to the intervals practice to meet the group. And I am so glad I did. On my cooldown, I asked myself, why was I ever considering not going? We all brought headlamps, and we were little bouncing beams of light bobbing around the track, for 12 x 400m. I had no idea what pace I was running when we started, since it’s always hard to judge depth perception and whatnot. I came through in 84 seconds, and thought that was a little fast. Then I hit 84 again. I strung a few 85s in a row, hit 86 just once, then steadily ran 85 seconds for most of the remaining quarters, with one or two more 84s, and an 81 closing lap. Conclusion: I’m pretty certain it was my fastest 12×400 workout ever, especially at that effort level, and that workout was a weekly staple during high school track. Any time I break through a barrier like that, no matter how minute in the scheme of things, it makes me happy. 

Headlamp on the track: not so bad.

Speaking of happiness, now that running is finally loving me back after all these years, it’s becoming the only time I truly feel 100% strong and confident in my ability to plan, and execute that plan. Sometimes I think about other things when I’m running and that statement applies, sometimes it applies to just…more running. Either way, as I wrote about as a tangent in my RW 10k race report, I have been loving writing. Running and writing have been the two things lately that just make sense, and make me feel organized and in control and accomplished and happy. The fact that they can go hand-in-hand is nice, because basically, I can write and write, and then I can run out all the things there are no words for. 

There are, inevitably, things I want to write about that aren’t blog-worthy. At least, public blog-worthy. I used to write in a journal every single day…until a day when I didn’t want to recap my life, or think about it any more than I had to. When I finally got over that, I “caught myself up” on everything, then immediately got tangled in crazy confusion again and had no time to write. I could really use it now though.

So tell me, if you’re still reading, do you keep a journal? Are there journals online that aren’t public, so you can access it anywhere and not lose what you write? (I thought I was more of a handwritten person until I started this blog…typing’s not so bad anymore.) 

I changed the end of this post’s title to “a little more on writing.” It said “non-running crises” before. Dramatic much? But that’s just the thing: why not be dramatic? It makes life interesting. I say “a little” because there is more to say/ask/ponder about this later.

the best holiday of the year

Friends, it’s that time again:

halloweenIt should be known that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday of the year. That being said, it always causes me a ton of stupid, unnecessary stress in the weeks leading up to it. You see, in my mind, Halloween is a time when I can go all-out and be really creative with creating a costume – basically turning myself into a piece of artwork. The stress comes into play when I realize I only have one chance during the year to do this! Therefore, it must be perfect. Hello, self-pressure. Another challenge is making sure I have everything I need to buy before stores close for the day, which is sometimes difficult with my work schedule (I’m usually not done until 7 or 8 at night). Yet another challenge is…trying not to actually buy too much. Needless to say, I am ready for Halloween Season 2013 to begin! I say “season” because if you celebrate Halloween like I do, it’s not just October 31. So before I spoil the surprise for this year (it’s not totally finished yet…but needs to be by tomorrow, yikes), here’s a look back at some of my costumes since I started this DIY costume madness.

2010: Lady Gaga

I figured Gaga would go out of style, at least Halloween-costume-worthy style, if I waited another year to do this, so I went for it. I looked at photos of a bunch of her crazy outfits and created a Gaga-inspired one of my own. A good place to start for nearly any costume is a black dress. With a glue gun, spraypaint, and other random things, anything is possible from there.

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2011 Part 1: Hershey Kiss

I was a Hershey Kiss for Halloween when I was three. Why not recycle an old idea (that certainly was not even mine the first time around…)? So, eighteen years later I was a Hershey Kiss again. I thought the shape of the Gaga dress from the year before would work well, so I spray painted it silver and hot-glued aluminum foil pieces to the tiers of fabric. This was the hardest costume I ever made. It also didn’t last for more than one party.

2011 Part 2: Christmas Tree

I sort of want to forget Part 2 even happened, because a.) the Halloween excitement certainly got the best of me that night and b.) the costume was awful. The Hershey kiss had fallen apart and I’d run out of glue sticks with which to repair it. It was snowing outside, I didn’t feel like driving to a store, and I had two parties left to attend. What to do? I raided the closet of the house I was renting senior year of college and found lots of Christmas decorations. And put them on. It was ridiculous that it was snowing in October, so I might as well make fun of mother nature, right? Conclusion: Part 1 was better, and there are hardly any pictures worthy of posting.

I told you it was bad.

I told you it was bad.

2012: Peacock

This idea came to me randomly and I totally ran away with it. It was so much fun. And I could re-wear it at any time, because it didn’t fall apart at all.

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2013…TBA!

But here’s a hint:

By the way, this is my first EVER Instagram photo. So exciting! I’m either going to use it all the time or never again. To find out, follow me here.

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An update: Thanks for the comments on my last post! It really helped to know that other people didn’t think I came off as ridiculous for wanting my results to be accurate. The good news is…they now are! Cheers to published, accurate PRs!

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